By Jules Champion
2018 was an insane year for music. With the rise of Bedroom Pop and the peak of SoundCloud rap there was a new song every minute and a new artist every week, but just as quickly as this success came to many of these artists, it vanished. While there are many, many, successful artists that rose from this period, there are just as many that haven’t had the same commercial success and cultural influence that they did in 2018. To me, that’s an injustice to some of these artists that have flourished while not seeing the audience that came for their largest songs. While their genres are being buried, these artists have shifted gears and have expanded their reach to create some beautiful and exciting projects.
“Ethereal” by $not
Known For: GOSHA
Exactly what you want out of a debut rap album: features changes in $nots classic style, opting for a more emotional and personal singing style while at the same time having the classic hard party songs that are reminiscent of GOSHA. Great features from artists like A$AP Rocky, Joey Bada$$, Teddi Jones, and Kevin Abstract that allow $not to showcase their surprising singing ability while still having those hard hitting verses for you and your friends to bounce to. I had a really hard time with the track recommended due to the pure volume of good songs. Many reviews mention the inconsistency and I agree, there are high highs and low lows on this album, but the highs are worthy of more than one listen and for a debut album, it’s a sign of great things to come.
Track Recommendations: Doja, BLUE MOON (feat. Teddi Jones), EYE EYE EYE (feat. Kevin Abstract), How U Feel (feat. Joey Bada$$), Fighting Me
“SuperGood” by Duckwrth
Known For: MICHUUL., Bernal Heights, Crush
Duckwrth is one of those artists whose lack of major commercial success surprises me most. Even with a 100 million play song like “Start a Riot” off the 2018 “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse” soundtrack I still feel Duckwrth is criminally underrated. From their early music Duckwrth as been seen as a genre-bending artist utilizing punk imagery and sounds in their otherwise rap songs. Then, enter “SuperGood”, one of the smoothest rap albums to come out in recent memory with a whole new persona for Duckwrth to explore; moving away from the Black Punk kid with a bike to a smooth leisure suit wearing rapper living in the spirit of disco. “SuperGood” is full of smooth and sensual songs that carry a beat meant to dance to. Whether you are skating, dancing, or are out for date night, “SuperGood” will have something for you.
Song Recommendations: Super Bounce (feat. EARTHGANG), Too Bad, Kiss U Right Now, Coming Closer
“Let There Be Light Again” by Sunset Rollercoaster
Known For: My Jinji, I Know You Know I Love You
Sunset Rollercoaster is the dreamiest band out now. The 5 member Taiwanese band creates a modern, softer, city pop sound full of amazing vocals and solos. Their sudden rise to popularity with “My Jinji” dominated the first half of my highschool experience. For a minute I can’t remember a day where this song wasn’t played by myself or one of my friends, but, for no apparent reason, I stopped listening. That is until I was alerted of the release of their emotional, beautiful, awesome, 2021 single “Let There Be Light Again”. This song to me is absolutely perfect with its clean and emotional vocals, rising synth solo, and great backing bass and percussion. Before moving to college this was the song I used to deal with the feeling of losing my home and becoming a small fish in a large pond.
Along with this the band has released “Coffee’s on Me”, another slow, but happy, single that will a great song to play this summer and “SOFT STORM” which I am beyond excited to listen to more.
“TO FEEL ALIVE EP” by Kali Uchis
Known For: Dead To Me, After the Storm (feat. Tyler the Creator & Bootsy Collins)
I feel like this project slipped by a lot of people due to its timing. Dropped spontaneously during the height of the pandemic with no marketing other than some social media posts this 4 song, bedroom recorded and produced, demo tape did not reach a huge audience. Personally this is one of my favorite Kali Uchis projects with its dreamy, lounging on a cloud, feel and balance of sickly sweet love and violent dependence.
Track Recommendations: honey baby (SPOILED!), angel
“Apolonio” and “Ivory” by Omar Apollo
With the recent release of Omar Apollos new album “Ivory” I once again struggle with how addictive their music is. With their last album, “Apolonio” it was a non stop listen for the entire year. It’s funky, it’s fun, the guitar is amazing and the subject matter is relatable. Now with “Ivory”, which I need a few more listens to review, they have dropped a polished and emotional album. Since 2018 Apollo has only strengthened and multiplied their talents musically and these projects a great listen.
Known For: Pram, Ignorin, Ashamed
“Oncle Jazz” by Men I Trust
Known For: Show Me How
Definition of clean, calm, groovy music. Men I Trust delivers a smooth, bass driven album complimented by high female vocals. This album was only released in 2019 but by then I feel people were moving out of this musical era and weren’t interested in a 24 song somewhat instrumental project. Regardless of this, if you’re looking for something calm with a little groove then this is the perfect listen.
Track Recommendations: Oncle Jazz, Days Go By, Say Can You Hear (Album V)
“Back On the Music!” by Paul Cherry
Known For: Like Yesterday
The classic brain melting, funky phone booth, smooth, tone that made Paul Cherry big back in 2018 is back only with more energy and complexity. Paul Cherry’s voice has clearly evolved since their last project with less reliance on effects and more use of their natural voice which results in a less stylized, but more accessible product. With their old music I felt there was a specific melancholic mood for their music, but “Back On the Music!” is accessible to anyone at anytime. There is also an increased variety of instruments with this project utilizing a peppy brass band on tracks like “No News No Blues”.
Track Recommendations: No News No Blues, You Being You (Our Room)